Leaving a Child Unattended In a Car is Abuse or Neglect, N.J. Court Rules

kids left in car 9-30-13A state appeals court ruled Tuesday that leaving a child unattended in a car, even briefly, is abuse or neglect. The three-judge panel ruled against a mother of four, identified in court papers only by the pseudonym Eleanor, who left her sleeping, 19-month-old child strapped in a car seat while she bought supplies for a party at a South Plainfield mall in 2009.

Eleanor left the car running while she shopped for five to 10 minutes, court documents show. By the time she finished, the police had been alerted about the unattended child and arrested her at the Middlesex Mall.

“A parent invites substantial peril when leaving a child of such tender years alone in a motor vehicle that is out of the parent’s sight, no matter how briefly,” Judge Clarkson Fisher Jr. wrote for the appellate panel. Read more in Star Ledger.

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  1. but I want to know how this if they will be going overboard. This mother should have been arrested, but will they arrest you if you standing right outside the car, like by a morah’s front door and can see the kid and the vehicle? Like maybe if we go to a park and you are not attached to the kid because she is on the slide you should also be arrested. I know there was that flukey story, but that’s what it was, a flukey story. It happened once since forever

  2. As much as i agree with the idea, i just know that this will be used to prosecute people who dont deserve it.
    When i come home from a long trip and i have to carry in five sleeping kids can you explain to me how in tarnation that is supposed to be done? I understand the importance of teh law but to make it legal neglect is setting a very dangerous precedent.

  3. when I see a parent shlepping her newborn out of the car when the windchill is 25 below zero as it was last week to drop off her toddler one floor up by the morah ( a trip of under 45 seconds) just so as no to leave the newborn unattended in the car that to me is unwitting cruelty to the newborn. Use common sense.

  4. to #8 if you have come home from a long trip i do not think someone will call the police on you if you are bringing sleeping children in your house one at a time within a reasonable amount of time and the car is parked right in your driveway

  5. agree with 6, 7 & 8. Its easy to be a hot head & say lock em up… but what will you say when they actually arrest people for unloading sleeping kids one at time. Dont say it wont happen because it already does. They take away cars for leaving registration at home. They’ll ticket you in a parking lot without a seat belt and the list goes on. All these rules are well meaning ways to make money and arrest people.

  6. If you read the article it says unsupervised, meaning no one watching the car. As long as you are in eyesight of the car you should be fine. # 8 where is your wife while you “unload” your sleeping children?. As long as someone (over the age of 12) you should be fine.

  7. Would you leave your diamond ring in plain sight even for one minuet ?.how about a box of cash .
    Of course not . Well is your child less precious .

  8. Guess from now on we won’t be able to return the shopping cart (even in Bricktown in order to get our quarter back.) But don’t blame us moms when the parking lot is full of a bunch of carts.. The stores will just have to collect our carts in appreciation of our choosing to shop there.

  9. When you are unloading your sleeping kids out of your car and into your house, you are leaving the kids in the car unattended. Why is that worse than leaving the kids unattended in the house while you go out to the car to get the rest of the sleeping kids?
    Is it safer to leave your child in the car in front of your house while you go inside to use the restroom, or is it safer to leave the child wandering around your house while you use the restroom? or do you have to take them in the bathroom with you? Will they make a law about that?
    The problem with laws like these, is that the judges usually don’t use common sense- especially if they are liberal judges.

  10. After reading the article and the posts it sounds like most people are upset they won’t be able to leave there kids unattended .. People need to read the story before they post comments !! It says leaving the car out of the parents sight .. So why would you say you can’t return you shopping cart for the quarter ?? Or unloading sleeping kids into the house ?? The best was what age is ok ?? People should treat there kids like a bag full of 1 million dollars or a bag of diamonds !! You wouldn’t leave that in your car unattended !!!

  11. I wonder how many of the Judges and Law makers have to schlep around 6 kids at a time? Most likely not, they are rich enough to pay someone to do the errands. But they know how we should live our lives.

  12. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that all the fatalities of kids being left in cars happened where the parent FORGOT that the child was in the car in the first place, and just left them there without realizing that they were there.
    I don’t think I ever heard of a fatality or any harm where a child was left in the car for a few minutes where the parent was aware of it and came right back. Making it illegal will not prevent mistakes, errors, and forgetfulness.

  13. each one must be thought of on an individual basis. the police were right to arrest her. Were party supplies a necessary item??? Why couldn’t the other children watch the 19 mo. old??? Use your Head. children are precious and given to us by HASHEM.

  14. I think we all agree that leaving your child in the car while shopping is insane & an arrestable offense. The problem is when they make these “laws” they just make a chulent out of things that are acceptable (like leaving one child in the car while unloading the other) and things that are unacceptable & neglectful. This is why we DONT TRUST THE GOVERNMENT to write laws such as these. “The innocent will sit in jail while the robbers, murderers etc. get off the hook”

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